CLSA is trying to turn the tide. - The brokerage is looking to launch a new strategy and hiring offensive after a spate of departures.
The firm has lost the bulk of its Hong Kong-based bond sales team along with other senior bankers amid a strategic and management upheaval.
At least seven staff have quit to rivals in in recent months. In January, Leo Tong, global head of debt finance global head of client coverage Group joined SMBC Nikko as head of fixed income and capital markets for Asia Pacific ex-Japan. Last month, he was joined by Luke Yang, a former credit sales specialist at CLSA.
Yang was part of CLSA’s bond sales team, which has borne the brunt of a recent exodus that's seen Tom Carlone join bond trading platform Trumid XT, Chris Wai switch to the institutional sales team at OSL and Elizabeth Chen move to Credit Suisse, according to their LinkedIn profiles.
One source in Hong Kong said that Cherry Chan and Gary Lam have also left in recent months and added that the departures were triggered after Citic cut the available balance sheet for the fixed-income business.
One Hong Kong-based headhunter said that CLSA is looking to plug the gaps “They’ve infilled some of these positions, and are finalizing a new strategy. There’s undoubtedly been some upheaval, but they’re rebuilding and are still a force to be reckoned with.”
It’s unclear yet whether the new strategy and hiring plan will involve CLSA building up in mainland China at the expense of Hong Kong.
The departures continue a period of upheaval that began in 2019 with what can be described as a ‘delayed culture clash’ as Beijing-based Citic began to exert more control over the firm it acquired in in 2013.
In 2019 CEO Jonathan Slone and Zhenyi Tang quit as chairman and chief executive in quick succession. Then last summer Gould, who replaced Slone, also stepped down.
Slone has since joined Jefferies, which hired least 50 staff from CLSA while Tang joined Credit Suisse as its China chief executive in 2019. Since then, Credit Suisse has hired about a dozen analysts from Asian brokerage CLSA for its China Quantitative Insight team.
CLSA declined to comment.
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